Posted on June 10, 2010 4:53 PM
Water 2050 Update, 6-10-10
Progress from CMAP
Water and wastewater rate setting. CMAP staff is now trained in utility rate setting, including designing rate structures to meet water conservation objectives. For more information contact Margaret Schneemann (email@example.com or 312-676-7456).
Alliance for Water Efficiency tool training. CMAP staff received the first round of training for the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) Tracking Tool. This tool can evaluate the water savings, costs, and benefits of water conservation programs for a specific water utility. It can be helpful for utilities that are considering implementing a water conservation program. Although CMAP staff can provide some assistance, utilities must be a member of AWE in order to have access to the tool. For more information contact Amy Talbot (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-386-8646).
NPS management program. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) receives federal funds through Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act to help implement the Illinois' Nonpoint Source (NPS) Management Program. The purpose of this program is to work cooperatively with local units of government and other organizations toward the goal of protecting the quality of Illinois' waters by controlling NPS pollution. CMAP assisted numerous local municipalities, agencies, and organizations in implementing projects designed to reduce NPS pollution to the region's rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands. CMAP serves as technical advisor, project coordinator, and grant administrator to the local project sponsors. Three projects have been completed, and one is still underway and will be completed by June 30, 2010. The projects are located in Aurora, Wheeling, Geneva, and Kane County.
The City of Aurora's Green Infrastructure project, which is still underway, includes implementing green infrastructure best management practices within the City's riverfront tax increment financing districts, brownfield sites, and planned sewer decombination areas in order to provide more effective treatment of urban runoff before it enters the Fox River.
The Village of Wheeling completed the first phase of a nearly five-mile long, three phase stabilization program for Buffalo Creek. Approximately 2,600 linear feet of stream channel were addressed, utilizing both structural and bio-technical techniques to stabilize and enhance the riparian corridor, reduce loss of real estate, and improve water quality and aquatic habitat in Buffalo Creek.
Geneva Park District's final phase of a half-mile long restoration/stabilization project on White's Creek was completed. This project stabilized the stream channel and banks and restored natural stream functions along approximately 1,350 linear feet of the creek through the District's Esping Park.
Kane County worked with Dundee Township on the Dixie Briggs Fromm (DBF) Stream Corridor Restoration Project. This was a comprehensive stabilization project that included streambank bioengineering, grade control, and restoration of riparian corridor vegetation along the approximately 1,850-foot long North-South Channel located in the western portion of the DBF Open Space and Nature Preserve property.
Progress in the Region
High efficiency toilet rebate programs. Congratulations to Batavia and Aurora, both cities have implemented a high efficiency toilet rebate program which offers residents a rebate ($50 in Batavia and $100 in Aurora) to replace their older, high water use toilets with a more efficient WaterSense labeled toilet. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) estimates that a family of four can save $90 a year and more than $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet in water utility bills by upgrading to a WaterSense Toilet. As the summer months hit and water use increases, efficient toilets are one way residents can conserve water and protect the groundwater resources in these communities.
Pharmaceuticals in our water. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) created a new product targeted to high school students, The Medicine Chest, to address growing concern over pharmaceuticals in local waterways. Students can become involved in this issue via the Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program (P2D2). Read Disposal of Unwanted Medicines: A Resource for Action in Your Community to learn how to organize community pharmaceutical collection events.
GLRI finalists. The U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office completed review of over 1,000 applications for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and invited 270 finalists to submit final funding applications. Under this initiative, President Obama authorized $475 million for restoring the Great Lakes, the GLRI action plan is available online. A list of selected projects by focus area and by state is available here.
Get outdoors day. On June 12, 2010, Lincoln Park Zoo will host Get Outdoors Day, which is part of an initiative to connect children with nature and the outdoors, and provides an opportunity to learn about water recreation and resource stewardship. IISG will be on hand with the game Great Lakes Wheel to Reel in Knowledge.
Help Promote ACE10 Chicago. On June 18, come to NBC Studio Plaza for Dance Friday on the Morning Show to help the Illinois section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) promote its annual conference and exposition (ACE10). ACE10 will be held from June 20 to 24 in Chicago and will bring together peers and professionals to share the latest news and information about the industry.
Oak Street Beach cleanup. On Saturday, June 19, Greenheart, a nonprofit fair trade store, and the Center for Cultural Interchange are hosting Living La Vida Verde at 10:00 a.m. The free event begins with a beach cleanup on Chicago's Oak Street Beach. This event is one outlet for increasing public awareness and action in support of water quality that will be important as the region grows over the next several decades. For more information, contact Amy Talbot (email@example.com or 312-386-8646).
Shedd gala. On June 21, AWE and the AWWA Water Conservation Division are sponsoring a Water Efficiency Gala at the Shedd Aquarium. The event provides water efficiency professionals from across the country a chance to network. The event is from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. and tickets must be purchased by June 15. Contact Molly Garcia (firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-360-5100 ext. 804).
Invasive species symposium. From June 21 to 24, the International Symposium on Genetic Biocontrol of Invasive Fish and Mussels will be held in Minneapolis, MN. This event will address genetic biocontrol strategies for controlling aquatic invasives, risks, and the regulatory and economic climate. This international event will result in a special volume of the Biological Invasives journal containing both presented papers and those coming out of the symposium's interactive sessions.
Internship opportunity. U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) in Chicago has a postgraduate research opportunity that includes working on projects such as State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC); Great Lakes contaminants monitoring programs; Lakewide Management Plan implementation; Quality Management Support for the Great Lakes National Program Office; and Great Lakes coastal wetland monitoring and analysis. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Comments sought on clean water report. IEPA is seeking comments on the draft Green Infrastructure for Clean Water Act Report. This report addresses the potential of green infrastructure to manage stormwater in Illinois and includes recommendations for the state. Comments are due no later than June 15.
New guidance available. The U.S. EPA released the final FY 2011 National Water Program Guidance document that defines environmental and public health strategies necessary to meet the goals of the agency's 2010-2015 Strategic Plan. Priorities for the water program include focusing on healthy watersheds and making communities more sustainable.
Water jobs = green jobs. The U.S. EPA released a new video, "Water Your Waiting For," to promote water sector careers as green jobs. The video is designed for high school and vocational students. Published reports indicate that approximately 30 percent of the water sector workforce is eligible to retire in the next 10 years. U.S. EPA, AWWA, and Water Environment Federation (WEF) are partnering in various efforts to highlight the need for qualified professionals to enter this important field.
319 NPS control program. The IEPA NPS Unit has completed a significant update to the Section 319(h) grant application process. If you plan to apply for the Section 319 (h) program this year, four documents should be completed and reviewed with the new application: request for proposals, application, application instructions, and organization certificates and grant conditions. The IEPA website includes the new documents. The next application deadline is July 30.
New SSO rulemaking. The U.S. EPA is initiating a rulemaking to better protect the environment from the harmful effects of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). Two possible modifications to existing regulations include: 1) clarifying the regulatory framework for applying for National Pollution Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit conditions to municipal satellite collection systems; and 2) establishing standard NPDES permit conditions for publicly owned treatment plant permits that will specifically addresses SSOs. More information on sanitary sewer overflows, the potential rule and a schedule of the upcoming listening sessions may be found online.
Shanghai bass. Asian Carp is now being served in several local restaurants. Should you be interested in preparing the fish at home, you can view the video "Flying Fish, Great Dish" on YouTube. To order a free copy of the video, visit the IISG website. Fertilizer made from Asian Carp is also available online. Remember, if you catch an Asian Carp in Chicago area waters, you should attempt to freeze the fish and report to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) (618-435-8138 x123).
App for water use. There are two cell phone applications, My Water Diary and Meter Readings, that help individuals track their personal water consumption patterns and household energy and water use.
Water in the News
Chicago diversion through the courts. Marty Jaffe, a member of the northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Group, is quoted in an article from Chicago Lawyer, "Waterways have their time in court." The article presents a timely legal history of the separation between the Great Lakes watershed and the Mississippi given the current debate over the Asian Carp. Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided not to close the Chicago locks to bar passage of the Asian Carp (read about the decision in the Chicago Tribune).
Obama, U.S. EPA push for cleaner Chicago River. Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune reported on the Obama administration's call for the Chicago River to be safe enough for swimming. In a follow up opinion article, Dennis Byrne questions whether or not the benefits from such an effort would justify the cost. As Chicago is one of the older communities with a combined sewer system, sewer overflows are a water quality concern for the River.
BMPs in Lake County. The Lake County News-Sun recently ran an article about the Lake County Central Permit Facility, which now houses a number of different county departments including the Stormwater Management Commission. The new building features a number of stormwater best management practices including rain gardens, bioswales, wetland detention basins and a green roof.
Water quality. The Northwest Herald reported on municipal efforts to keep Trichloroethylene TCE contamination levels within Safe Drinking Water Act levels. TCE has been targeted in controversial area drinking water lawsuits.
Price of water. Circle of Blue ran a story comparing water rates and usage across 30 U.S. cities. While such comparisons are clouded by the multiplicity of factors impacting both cost of service across water utilities and water use across service areas, rates are found to be very low in the Great Lakes region, including Chicago, Detroit, and Milwaukee. This is attributed to the comparatively abundant water supply within the Great Lakes region, as well as the economies of water distribution due to proximity to the water source.
About the Water 2050 Newsletter
Regional water-resource stewardship took a giant leap forward on January 26, 2010, when the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group (RWSPG) unanimously approved a plan that aims to avoid imbalances between water demand and regional supplies. Read more in this press release. Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan was developed over the past three years by CMAP staff with input and guidance from the RWSPG, the Illinois State Water Survey, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The next steps we must take as a region to implement water plan recommendations are equally important. A new commitment to water-use conservation and demand management is the cornerstone of the water plan. Among the attributes of any successful conservation program are political leadership, stable funding, education, and outreach. This Water 2050 newsletter is designed to be one such outreach mechanism. This newsletter will be issued on the second Thursday of every other month. This will be a means to communicate newsworthy items, share valuable resources, and promote ongoing and diverse efforts around water resources planning and management, both at CMAP and throughout the region. We are interested in your water news! This newsletter will feature local examples of water planning and conservation, so please contact Justine Reisinger (email@example.com or 312-386-8802) with your news and examples.